FLYING DOWN TO RIO (U)
D: Thornton Freeland
RKO (Merian C. Cooper & Lou Brock)
US 🇺🇸 1933
W: Cyril Hume, Erwin S. Gelsey & H.W. Hanemann [based on the play by Anne Caldwell]
DP: J. Roy Hunt
Ed: Jack Kitchin
Mus: Max Steiner; Vincent Youmans, Gus Kahn & Edward Eliscu
PD: Carroll Clark & Van Nest Polglase
Cos: Walter Plunkett
Dolores Del Rio (Belinha de Rezende), Gene Raymond (Roger Bond), Raul Roulien (Julio Rubeiro), Ginger Rogers (Honey Hale), Fred Astaire (Fred Ayres)
Dolores Del Rio might get top billing in this musical-romance, but it's Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who steal all the limelight here, sharing the screen for the first time, though their partnership will go on throughout the rest of the 1930's.
Dolores Del Rio plays Brazilian beauty Belinha de Rezende, who gets caught up in a love triangle between her fiancé, Julio, and rakish band leader Roger Bond in the build up to a hotel's grand opening in Rio de Janeiro.
The romance aspect of the story have the typical screwball antics of films you'd expect from this period, but they do provide for some laughs along the way, even though the humour would be considered a little old-fashioned although some lines and double entendres would certainly have been rather risqué for 1933.
It really is Astaire and Rogers who steal this film though, Fred as the lighthearted comic relief who has his own chance to tapdance, and Rogers as the band's singer, who lights up the stage when she's on it. The musical numbers are very well done for the time of production, especially the lengthy "Carioca" sequence which comes about halfway through the film, and the finale in which showgirls dance upon the wings of airplanes (incredibly good special effects for 1933).
For me, this is a Busby Berkeley style musical that has stood the test of time and provided the perfect springboard to launch Astaire & Rogers into the screen legends they turned out to be.